After playing with three more bootable Linux distros last night -- that's five so far -- only one easily found both my Internet connection and printer: Ubuntu
, the version recommended by several readers. It definitely pays to listen to our readers!
Ubuntu found my Internet connection without me doing a thing; and configuring the printer was as easy as choosing "add a printer," selecting the already detected printer and then picking its manufacturer and model number from a drop-down menu. Later this week, I'm going to see how it works to transfer files off of a digital camera, another major issue for me as a home user.
I'd had high hopes for the bootable DVD version of Novell SuSE 9.3
, but it ran into problems early. It looked extremely slick booting up, offering an immediate choice of regular Linux, safe mode or hard-disk boot; nice interface, with a choice of simple or detailed view of what was happening; and elegant fonts (what can I say, that matters to me). But when it got to a certain point, the boot-up simply froze and my screen went blank. It never even got the chance to try to find my printer and Net connection!
After some preliminary research on the Web, I suspect the problem is either my monitor or video card. I was able to control-alt-backspace out of X Windows and boot up in text mode; but as an avid digital photographer, an OS that can't display graphics isn't much use to me these days, no matter how much I also enjoy having robust shell/command-line access to my system. I'll give a couple of boot-up "cheat codes" a try tonight and see if I can coax it into loading up some graphics.
I also took a stab at Slax Linux
, downloading the version designed to run Windows applications with a minimum of effort (Wine comes bundled in), but that didn't seem to let me add a printer at all.
For now, I'm still running Ubuntu off the bootable CD, which is something like surfing the Web on dial-up -- possible, but with irritating delays. It's also a little scary, since I haven't tried configuring it to save anything on my hard drive, and I'm writing this now on Ubuntu at work, unable to save any of my work in progress unless I keep e-mailing drafts to myself.
And yes, I realize I'm missing out one of the probable benefits of Linux on a PC, speedy operations by using a CD version of an OS; but I want to be sure I find the Linux version that's right for me before grappling with hard-disk installation. While I like Ubuntu, I also happen to be partial to the KDE desktop (no reason beyond personal preference), and Ubuntu is built around GNOME. But I see there's also a KDE version of Ubuntu, called Kubuntu
Linux on the desktop (cont.)
OK, I'll bite: Linux on the desktop
And a related story this week - it seems desktop Linux from bootable CD is suddenly all the rage - Try Linux for free: Make your own install CD
, from our sister publication PC World